New research on middle-grades science teaching reveals that without at least 5 hours of instructional time dedicated to science during a typical school week, teachers are less likely to use the types of inquiry-based learning practices recommended by leading science and education professionals.
Unlike traditional instruction, inquiry-based instruction approaches science learning through sustained real-world projects and hands-on experimentation rather than fact memorization, recall and prescribed experiments. It is considered a best practice by the National Research Council and the Next Generation for Science Standards, among other national and state science assessments, for teaching scientific knowledge and skills for the 21st century.
What’s more, the findings—published Dec. 1, 2020 in the journal Teachers College Record—suggest that only about one third of eighth-grade students in the U.S. actually receive at least 5 hours of science instruction each week.
“Even the best teachers are less likely to teach